July 23, 2008

I. Love. Running.

I love running. This is the mantra I repeated in my head over and over again when my alarm went off at 5:45 a.m. I'm normally not an early morning workout girl, but it has been so hot and humid in NYC these past couple weeks, I decided to try to get out there before it really heated up. I dragged myself out of bed around 6 and was out the door at 6:40. Of course it was raining when I started, and I even heard some thunder, but they say you have to train in all conditions, right? The rain stopped within the first 10 minutes or so and I was actually kind of happy about this until I started roasting and then wished it were raining again. Even before 7 a.m. it was hot. And incredibly humid due to the rain. It was so hazy I could barely see the Statue of Liberty and the Verrazano Bridge disappeared into the mist. I like to see the bridge when I'm running as a reminder of how far away I'll be at the marathon start line on November 2. But not today.

The run started out fairly well, particularly given my recent lack of training. But around mile 5.5 or so, I felt like I was dragging a body behind me. I literally couldn't have felt heavier. This feeling lasted about a mile, then I was able to step it back up for the remainder, but the entire 8 miles was a struggle for pace. On good miles I was able to keep it close to 8.5 or a little less so I averaged 8.71 for the entire run, but not without having to fight for it. The half-marathon will certainly not be easy on Sunday. I couldn't imagine cranking out another 5 miles this morning and maintaining that pace. My goal is to finish in under two hours, even if it's 1:59:59. I need to be at or below a 9-minute pace to achieve this. I'm going to do two more easy, shorter runs this week and hope for the best.

Since it was early and I was done, I headed back to the pool for a quick swim. I did a 200 warm-up, three sets of 400 with another attempt to speed it up (unsuccessfully) and a 200 cool down. I'm going to keep working on my speed until I see some sort of improvement.

I officially signed up for my next races today. I'll be doing the Niantic Bay Triathlon in Connecticut on August 3. It's a sprint race with a half-mile swim in a protected ocean bay. My previous sprint was only a quarter-mile so this will be a good challenge for me. I'm hoping to do it in less than 20 minutes since that's what a half in the pool is currently taking me. I did .44 miles at Brighton Beach recently in 14:00 so if there is any current, I should be able to come in under 20. It's a nice flat course so I should be able to do well on the bike and run. After that I'll be doing a practice race in Long Branch, NJ, a 1K swim, 19 mile bike and 5 mile run. That one has an ocean swim so it should be a good time.

I still have the dilemma of which September race to do. I'm signed up for the Triathlon at Pacific Grove in California on September 13, an Olympic distance race. It was going to be my "tri-vacation" but is looking unlikely as I'd have to travel alone. I'm seeing if anyone can join me, but if it turns out I'm solo, I'll be doing the Mighty Hamptons Triathlon in Sag Harbor. This was not my first choice for a September race, but it's local and it was close to selling out so I registered. It's September 14 so once I decide between the two, I'll have to drop out of one.

Now that I know I (a) Can swim; (b) Love triathlons; and (c) Actually enjoy the training (um, that's an understatement as those of you who know me can attest) I'll be able to plan my next season way in advance and much more logically to avoid the challenges I've had in the past couple weeks. And with a little luck, I might be able to squeeze in another race or two this season. There can never be too many!

I'm off tonight for a post-race get together with my JackRabbit training group. I'm really looking forward to hearing everyone's stories and having one more chance to talk about the race before its shelf life officially wears out. Speaking of shelf life, the photos scattered throughout this post are obviously from the race. I at least tried to keep within the theme of running. By the end of the week, I should have a full gallery up with a lot of great photos. Don't worry, they aren't all of me. There were 2,999 other athletes there after all!

Distance - 8 miles
Time - 1:09:43

Distance - 1600 yards (.91 miles)
Time - 35:00

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